Two new shows from Netflix -- House of Cards and Orange is the New Black -- changed the TV landscape, but Bianculli's top pick for 2013 is AMC's Breaking Bad. "It ended as brilliantly as it began," he says. "I'm so grateful for that series."
David Bianculli, Fresh Air TV critic, shares his picks for the best television of 2007, and what he'll be watching in 2008 — he's looking forward to the upcoming seasons of ABC's Lost and HBO's The Wire.
Bianculli is the author of Teleliteracy and Television's 500 Biggest Hits, Misses, and Events. He recently launched the Web site TVworthwatching.com.
Bill Carter reports on the television industry for The New York Times and has written about TV for almost 30 years. His new book is called Desperate Networks and it has a mouthful of a subtitle: Starring Katie Couric, Les Moonves, Simon Cowell, Dan Rather, Jeff Zucker, Teri Hatcher, Conan O'Brien, Donald Trump and a Host of Other Movers and Shakers Who Changed the Face of Prime-Time TV.
Manager to TV and film stars, Bernie Brillstein ("STEEN"). His clients include John Belushi and Garry Shandling. He developed a very hands-on style of management, and has written a new memoir about his work, "Where Did I Go Right?: You're No One in Hollywood Unless Someone wants You Dead" (Little, Brown & Co.).
The former head of NBC's television programming Pat Weaver (Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver, Jr.). He began that job in the early days of the medium - in 1949 - and was the creator of two of television's longest running shows, the "Today" show and the "Tonight" show. Weaver started his career in radio, where he worked with comic Fred Allen. And he was advertising manager for the American Tobacco Company, under the eccentric tobacco magnate George Washington Hill. Weaver has a new memoir of his career, "The Best Seat in the House," (Knopf).
Former president of NBC Entertainment Brandon Tartikoff was the youngest person to hold that position. While there, he was responsible for such hit series as "The Cosby Show," "Cheers," "Miami Vice," and "Hill Street Blues." Now Tartikoff is chairman at Paramount Pictures. He has a new book about his NBC years, called "The Last Great Ride."
The age of the big three networks is over. Ten years ago, ABC, CBS and NBC monopolized 90% of the television audience. Now they attract a bit over sixty. Reporter Ken Auletta has written about the impact of the decline of the networks and the rise of cable and home video. His new book is called Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way. (Random House)
Dr. George Gerbner is the Dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Gerber and his colleagues Larry Gross, Michael Morgan, Nancy Signorielli, and sometimes Stewart Hoover have published many studies of television and its impact on society. The studies have been widely published and influential. Gerber believes that television distorts reality, and Americans, who watch a large amount of t.v. programming, are having their views on reality distorted by the medium.